A Change of Heart

If you read my blog you will know I have been training to heart rate since late last year.  This has been frustrating at times but on the whole I’ve enjoyed it and it has allowed me to focus and improve many aspects of my running form.  However, after 10 months I am not making the progress I thought I would and something had to change.

I had some tests done at the time to determine my training zones and the aerobic zone is where I have done most of my running.  Although I have seen some improvements in pace for the same heart rate, there has not been enough for me to want to continue what I am doing.  Frankly, running was becoming less enjoyable and I couldn’t let that happen.  I may be busy trying to unleash my inner athlete but I also run for fun and the pure enjoyment of it.

I am still a huge fan of a heart rate training approach though and so have looked at other ways to use it.  I rarely race but as I mentioned in my last blog, I recently ran a 5k and have decided to use the maximum heart rate reached in that race as a basis for my training.  This has given me a few more beats per minute to work with and allows me to run more fluidly.  Most importantly for me, I am able to run without having to stop and walk because my HRM tells me I am no longer in the zone yet again.  This was soul destroying especially when you have put months of work into it.  Mentally, this has a negative effect and only causes your heart rate to rise in any case.

I am a tall long-legged creature.  Having to run as slowly as I did for a few months is fine but not on an ongoing basis.  My body was screaming at me to stretch out, increase the range of motion, run fast for goodness sake!

I was reminded recently by fellow instructor Ryan Miller about the four chi skills taught in ChiRunning; too often, he said, the focus on running form is just on the mechanics.  I thought how right you are.  As a reminder to you, the four chi skills are: focus your mind; body sensing; breathing and relaxation.  Body sensing was the key one in making this decision.

Stay mindful of what you are doing and why.  Most importantly, listen to your own body, if after giving it your best shot something doesn’t feel right, change it.

Three weeks in, I am much happier with my running and enjoying this new phase of my training.  If you are training to heart rate, I would be really interested to hear your experience.

Happy running.


Posted in Beginners

Related Articles